Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Help! I Didn’t Reach My NaNo Goal


Hello, everyone! I can’t believe NaNoEdMo and NaNoWriMo are over already. It doesn’t seem that long ago that I vowed to complete the third draft of my novel in November.

So, did I reach my NaNoEdMo goal? Well, I’m sad to say that I didn’t reach my goal. And even after changing my goal to a more realistic one (completing 50% of my novel), I still didn’t reach my goal. However, I did manage to edit 10% of my novel, which is nowhere near my goal, but it’s something.

There are two reasons why I didn’t reach my goal: firstly, I struggled to stay motivated and often found myself distracted my other tasks and projects, and secondly, my goal was too ambitious – doing the third draft of a novel takes more time than the second draft did.

Now, while I am disappointed that I didn’t reach any of my goals, I’ve decided to stop being so hard on myself because I did something which is better than doing nothing.  Every step forward is a step forward, no matter how small the step. In this writing game, you have to focus on the positives, even if the positives are small. For example, you receive nine rejections, but one acceptance, it’s the acceptance that you need to focus on because it’s the one yes that matters the most.

So if you’ve not reached your NaNoEdMo or NaNoWriMo goal, I want you all to stop being disappointed in what you haven’t done, and start celebrating what you have achieved. You may have only written 20,000 words, but that’s 20,000 more words than you had before. You may have only edited five chapters, but that’s still five more chapters than before.

I would like to congratulate those who have reached their NaNoEdMo and NaNoWriMo goals, and I would also like to congratulate those who didn’t reach their goals because you’ve all done well and no matter how small the achievement, you still have something to celebrate. Yay us!

So, turn that frown upside down and go celebrate because we are all NaNo winners.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“A goal is not always meant to be reached; it often serves simply as something to aim at.” ― Bruce Lee

Setting Self Doubt on Fire: It’s NaNoWriMo and NaNoEdMo Time


Hello everyone! I’m back with some more self-doubt fighting words.

So, what do I have for you today? Well, it’s nearly November – I can’t believe it – and that can only mean one thing, it’s NaNoWriMo and NaNoEdMo time. For those who don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. During November, writers around the world pledge to write 50,000 words of their novel. It’s a great challenge, and I do recommend it for those who need motivating to start writing their novel.

I had originally planned to take part in NaNoWriMo this year; however, I have a novel that I haven’t edited since July. So instead of needing the motivation to write a novel, I need the motivation to edit a novel, so like last year, I will be taking part in NaNoEdMo (National Novel Editing Month) next month (the original month is March). And my goal for this year will be to finish my third draft and possibly start on my fourth.

You can find out more information about NaNoWriMo and NaNoEdMo on my ‘Get ready for NaNoEdMo’ post.

Again this year I will be inviting you all to join me on my novel editing quest. I’ve been unable to create a month long event like last year, but I have created a Facebook group called November 2016 – NaNoEdMo. You can find a link to the group via my Nicole J. Simms Facebook page.

Like last year, you will need a goal. Your goal could be anything from editing 50,000 words to finishing a certain draft stage. It doesn’t matter what you decide. What’s important is that you have a goal to work towards because it’s the goal that will help you to stay focused and motivated.

I will also be writing about my NaNoEdMo journey on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #NaNoEdMo. And I look forward to hearing about your NaNoEdMo and NaNoWriMo adventure.

So whether you decide to take part in NaNoWriMo or NaNoEdMo, I wish you all the best of luck, and I hope you all reach your goals. I know I hope I reach mine.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“Accept the challenges so that you can feel the exhilaration of victory” ― George S. Patton Jr.

Setting Self Doubt on Fire: How to Prepare for a Book Reading Event


Hi, everyone! I’m back with some more self-doubt fighting words.

So, what do I have for you today? Well, I will be talking about how you can prepare for a book reading event.

My writing group (Oldbury Writing Group) has just published our first anthology, which is titled From Sunrise to Sunset. The anthology is a collection of short stories and poems about the Second World War. And to help promote our book, we will be taking part in a World War Two event, and during this event, each member will be reading some of their World War Two stories and poems.

Now, this won’t be the first time that we have read out our work to an audience, but due to us being part of a bigger event, we could potentially be reading our stories and poems to the biggest audience we have ever had. Now, as a fellow self-doubter the thought of reading out my stories to a bigger audience than I have ever read out to before scares me.

I have mentioned before in my other post ‘Reading aloud to an audience’ that I’m not great when it comes to reading out my work. I read too quickly, I stutter, and I struggle to make myself heard. Like many self-doubters, the thought of having everyone’s attention fixed on me while they listen to my work fills me with dread – it’s the kind of thing that causes you to have nightmares.

However, even though I would like to pay someone to read out my stories and poems for me, I will not back down from this challenge. This event will be my way of tackling the read aloud challenge and the setting self-doubt on fire challenge. And even though I fear that the audience will boo me and tell me to step aside for a real talented writer, I have to do this. I have something to say, and only I can say it.

So, to give myself the best chance, I have come up with a plan. And this is what I will be sharing with you today.

My preparation plan for my book reading event:

  1. Timing yourself – I have a 10-minute slot to read out a mixture of my poems and short stories. So to make sure I don’t go over, I have timed myself reading out each piece. And I have also found a useful website where you can see how long it should take to read out a certain number of words. This allows you to see if you are reading too quickly
  2. Practising in front of a mirror – this is a great way to see how you look while you are reading out your work. You can see if you look at the audience enough. You’ll also be able to spot your non-verbal communications, for example, if you look bored – a bored reader equals a bored audience.
  3. Practising the tips I mentioned in my ‘Reading aloud to an audience’ post – those tips include breathing control, faking confidence, perfecting your performing voice, etc.
  4. Practise reading aloud every day – we all know that the more you do something, the better you get at it. You’ll soon see that your confidence grows after each practice. Also, it gives you a chance to work out how your piece needs to be read, especially for a poem.
  5. Positive thinking – sometimes the best thing you can do is to think positively. If you believe you will fail, you will. If you believe you will succeed, there’s a chance you might.


I won’t lie, even with all this preparation, I’m still incredibly nervous. I could still suck, but there’s a chance that I won’t. There’s a possibility that people will enjoy my story, and hey, I might even get a standing ovation (one can dream).  Either way I, or you, won’t know unless we try.


So fellow self-doubters, if you also have a book reading to prepare for, then remember these tips, and let’s set self-doubt on fire.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“Overcoming what frightens you the most strengthens you the most.” ― Matshona Dhliwayo


Setting Self Doubt on Fire: The Setting Self Doubt on Fire Challenge


Hi, All! I’m back.

Lately, I have been battling with self-doubt, which is mostly because of the constant rejections that I have had. As we all know, rejections can make you wonder if your earlier success was a fluke. But, instead of allowing Mr Self Doubt to continue to spread his poison, I will be fighting back. How will I fight back? Well, I have decided to set a Setting Self Doubt on Fire challenge, and I want all of you fellow self-doubters to join me.

So, what is the challenge? Well, it’s simple; every time you do something to push self-doubt aside I want you to post about it on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #settingselfdoubtonfire or #beatingselfdoubt.

To help you know what counts as beating Mr Self Doubt, I’ve listed some examples below.

  • Finished writing a story.
  • Finished editing a story.
  • Submitted a story.
  • Faced rejection and continued to write.
  • Read out your stories.
  • Uploaded a story to your website.
  • Self-published a book.
  • Resubmitted a rejected story.
  • Faced criticism and continued to write.
  • Called yourself a writer.
  • Told people you’re a writer.
  • Joined a writing group.
  • Your story has been published.

It doesn’t matter what you do as long as you have pushed self-doubt aside. And I will be sharing my achievements with you too.


Remember, every time you defeat Mr Self Doubt I want you to share it on your Facebook or Twitter. And don’t forget to use the hashtags (#settingselfdoubtonfire or #beatingselfdoubt), so we can all take the challenge together.

So let’s do this, let’s set self-doubt on fire.

Keep writing folks.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” ― Suzy Kassem

Setting Self Doubt on Fire: Help! A Publisher has Dropped Me


Hi, All! I’m back. I know, it’s been a long time since my last post, but I’ve been wrestling with my day job, studies, and writing projects, plus so many other things. But I have now returned to share my self-doubt fighting advice.


So, what do I have for you today? Well, I will be talking about something that we all dread: being dropped by a publisher. This applies to those who’ve lost a book publisher, or a writer who’s had their story removed from a website. I thought it would be a good topic to discuss since I’ve recently had this happen to me, and it’s something that will definitely make you doubt yourself. In a way, being dropped is another form of rejection, and like rejection, it’s something we need to overcome.


So, how was I dropped? Well, I wasn’t physically dropped, and it wasn’t by a book publisher (I would need to have one first lol), but it was by a website that two of my stories were on. It was a website where readers can buy short stories to read. Before receiving the email, I had an inkling that my stories would be up for the chop. Apparently, due to poor sales the website would need to trim some of their authors. And since I hadn’t had many sales, I knew I might be one of those authors to go. However, it didn’t stop me from feeling like I had been ninja-kicked in the gut when I received that dreaded email. And of course, Mr Self Doubt decided to pop up and torment me. “Ha-ha! Your work sucks,” he said.


But instead of allowing Mr Self Doubt to win, I decided to fight back. And today I will be sharing with you how I managed to do that.


  • Allow yourself time to grieve. It hurts just like rejection does. In fact, it can feel a little worse because you think that once you’ve been accepted (especially a short story) you’ve achieved a goal. So having that ripped from you will hurt. So there’s no shame in being upset, but don’t let it stop you from writing.
  • You need to keep on writing. Write about how you feel. Dump all the emotions you are feeling onto a character. Writing is a great way to unload. And after you’re done, you might have a story that could get published.
  • See it as an opportunity. My story wasn’t being read, and no one was buying it. So instead of it staying on a website alone and unloved, I can now try to find my stories a home where they can be read.
  • See it as a fresh start. If it’s a story that’s been dropped, now would be a perfect time to read the story again and see how you can improve it. If a book publisher or agent has dropped you, now would be the time to decide what kind of writer you want to be – you might even want to change genres.
  • Talk to other writers. Only writers understand what writers go through. So talk to your writer friend, members in your writing group, or write about it on your blog. It’s at times like this that you will need support, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.


As you can see being dropped by a publisher sucks, but it isn’t the end of the world. As long as you have the determination and perseverance, you will get over this and continue with your writing journey. And just like with rejection, you need to take a deep breath, fix your armour, and continue with the battle.

Keep writing folks.

To end this post, here is another inspirational quote:

“If the book is true, it will find an audience that is meant to read it.” –Wally Lamb

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